Applications for the 2017 Summer STEM Program will become available in early January 2017.

NOTE: Classes will operate if a minimum class size is reached. Our intent is to admit students into their highest-ranked course selection.  Course popularity and class size constraints will determine final placement.  Students are only enrolled in one of the following courses during the entire six weeks of the program.

Contact: or 212.353.4288

Below are the sections that were offered in 2016 and are typical of the projects were offer every year.

Digital Electronics for the Inventor
Prof. Yash Risbud
Department of Electrical Engineering
Director, C.V. Starr Research Foundation

This hands-on course challenges you to assess, design, build, test, and demonstrate an electronics project from scratch.  Daily lecture topics include digital logic design, circuit theory, programmable devices, and basic microelectronics.  Students will work with diagnostic tools critical in creating a successful device of their own design.  Initial designs by the faculty will be used as demonstrations and practice experiments.  Student work culminates with an original design they create in small teams.  Each student will build several circuits individually, with the final projects performed in groups.  Students will develop your skills in project management, prototyping, protocol and functional testing, quality assurance, and device deployment.

An Introduction to Mechanical Engineering: The Rube Goldberg Project
Prof. George Delagrammatikas
Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Drawing from Peter Cooper’s legacy of invention, students are immersed in a rigorous, hands-on engineering competition that broadens their understanding of mechanical engineering concepts through application. Lectures and laboratory demonstrations prepare the students to perform their team-based activities, centered on designing and building a "Rube Goldberg" machine in order to learn how basic electromechanical devices operate. Among the fundamental experiments are: DC motors, microcontrollers, internal combustion engines, pumps, structures, vibrations rigs, wind tunnel applications, automotive systems, refrigeration units, and pressure vessels.

Example student projects can be seen here.

Racecar Design through Engineering Experimentation
The FormulaSAE Team

Prof Delagrammatikas, Coordinator

This hands-on laboratory course allows students to explore heat exchangers, pumps, internal combustion engines, a wind tunnel, refrigeration cycles, direct-current motors, and fundamental microcontroller use. Students will have the opportunity to explore design considerations, such as hardware/software selection or system level integration, to help connect theoretical foundations with application.  Students will be divided into teams of 3-4 students which rotate through a series of ten experiments that relate to the racecar.  They explore the fundamentals of mechanical measurement, report-writing, and graphical presentation of data.

A team-based research project will then be selected by the student teams which will require the students to design, build, and test systems for the Cooper Union Formula SAE racecar. These systems include, but are not limited to: 1) a wireless data acquisition system, 2) a new aerodynamic nosecone, 3) a lightweight crash structure, 4) frame testing system, 5) carbon-fiber suspension members, 6) an improved cooling system, and a 7) turbocharged, single-cylinder engine test stand.

Example student work can be seen here.

Protecting NYC from the Effects of Hurricanes
Prof. Joseph Cataldo and Prof. Vito Guido
Professors of Civil Engineering

On Monday, October 29, 2012 the New York City tri-state area was devastated by Hurricane Sandy. This hurricane was one of the worst storms to make landfall in the northeastern United States in recent times. The New Jersey coastline was decimated, lower Manhattan was flooded and without power for many days, Staten Island saw catastrophic loss of life and property, as did Coney Island and the Far Rockaways. This section will research and design solutions to the following problem: What financially viable measures can be taken to prevent storm surge damage and how can these solutions be constructed? The students will simulate storm surges by both mathematical modeling and laboratory experiments. Students with particular interest in learning about fluid mechanics are especially encouraged to apply.

Examples of student projects can be seen here.

Saving the World: The Exploration of Sustainable Energy and Untapped Green Resources
Prof. Robert Dell
Director, Center for Innovation and Applied Technology
Department of Mechanical Engineering

One of the greatest challenges seen by modern society is that of ensuring energy independence. This section allows students to explore and invent novel technologies that would exploit energy sources that have remained underutilized in recent times. Students will be able to identify potential methods of harvesting green energy while becoming familiar with data collection, basic heat transfer and thermodynamics, energy measurement, and infrared thermal imaging. Potential green solutions may include cascade utilization, thermoelectrics, wind, waste heat, solar and organic energy resources; project selection is defined by student interest. One of the exciting projects include the first waste steam heat-powered robot that monitors and controls a heated urban garden. The same technologies have been used by Prof Dell to grow banana plants in Iceland and grass and flowers in December in New York City.

Examples of student work can be seen here.

Computational Design and Innovation: The Makerspace

Engineers are natural problem-solvers who tackle problems on a global scale.  We address these issues responsibly as we explore civic engagement through our creativity.

This project allows students to solve global grand challenges through a broad exposure to the various departments in the Albert Nerken School of Engineering.  Students are tasked to define an engineering problem that they want to solve, research the various ways the world has addressed these problems in the past, develop alternative solutions to the problems, and then start prototyping solutions.

Students will have access to rapid prototyping machines (laser-cutter, 3D printers, CNC plasma-cutter, shop tools, etc) to develop a series of solutions to the problems that they find most important in the world.  Computer aided engineering tools (such as CAD software, microcontrollers, computer programming languages, and computer science) will be taught throughout the project.  Topics will also include patent law, patent searches, intellectual property, entrepreneurship, and innovation.

Projects from last year can be viewed here.

Genetically Engineered Machines: The iGem Competition
Prof. Oliver Medvedik
Assistant Director, Maurice Kanbar Biomedical Engineering Center
Sandholm Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology

The International Genetically Engineered Machines competition (iGEM) is an intensive synthetic biology competition open to students from universities around the world. Ever since its international launch in 2005, over 200 teams converge onto the MIT campus annually to showcase their engineered biological systems. Since 2012, the organizers of IGEM have added a special high school track for the competition. This section provides a laboratory studio for students to research, design, and build projects in preparation for their entry into future competitions. The types of projects launched by students run the gamut from biomedical applications such as: 1) engineered enzymes for synthetic blood substitutes, 2) living biosensors that can detect pathogens in lakes, 3) novel biomaterials produced using modified organisms, and 4) even using the genetic code of the organisms themselves as means to encrypt high densities of information for long term storage.

Example student projects can be seen here.

Body Physics: Designing for Functional Anatomy

Antonia Zaferiou, PhD (ME'10), Facilitator and Project Leader

Biomedical Engineers help humans (or other biological systems) perform challenging mechanical accomplishments. In this experiential-learning course, students will work in teams to develop innovative mechanical systems to help humans perform activities of daily living, athletics, or performing arts. Biomedical Engineers innovate by using the engineering design process; taking time to (1) understand problems associated with the current state of the system and (2) use creative problem-solving skills in collaborative groups to test and analyze prototypes. This course introduces students to functional anatomy and physics while embedding design challenges as opportunities for students to innovate and practice the engineering design process. Design challenges include: “Design an Artificial Cardiovascular System”, “Design a Biomechanics Experiment and Biofeedback Technology”, and “Design a Musculoskeletal Prosthetic/Exoskeleton”. The course culminates with student teams further developing a solution to a design challenge of their choosing. 

Computer Science and Engineering Entrepreneurship

It all starts with an idea.  Starting a tech company is not as hard as it once was.  In this 6-week program, students are introduced and immersed in all aspects of web and app development. Specifically, they will learn all the basic aspects of full stack development.  Learning the Computer Science aspects of starting a tech company is only the beginning.  Students will also learn the major aspects of a startup and getting a product off the ground, from startup financing to customer development and creating a minimum viable product, based on the lean launchpad model. The day will be split among lectures, practice of the lecture material and mentored time to allow students to develop their product.  Students walk away from this experience having some apps built and their idea fleshed out.

Additional Projects and Courses

As in the past, we have accommodated requests for a summer experience that allows high school students to explore their passions in the STEM fields at Cooper Union. If you are interested in a particular type of course or subject area, please contact us so that we can discuss the possibilities. We would have to find at least twelve students to register for the course once an available faculty member is identified. Examples can be introductory courses in engineering design, app development, digital fabrication, mathematics, physics, and chemistry, all taught at the advanced placement or college level, and with a laboratory component in some cases.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.